X Contemplates Reintroducing Downvote Feature for Replies Following New Internal Discussions

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X, formerly known as Twitter, is contemplating the reintroduction of a downvote feature for posts, a concept it previously experimented with in 2021 prior to Elon Musk’s acquisition of the social media platform. During the initial trial, Twitter tested both upvoting and downvoting buttons, akin to the functionality found on Reddit’s social forums. Recent discoveries within the X iOS app code suggest that the company is now exploring the addition of downvotes specifically for replies to enhance how they are ranked.

The code references were uncovered by reverse engineer Aaron Perris, known as @aaronp613 on X, who frequently identifies new app features ahead of their public release. Perris disclosed the findings following the iOS app update on Tuesday, indicating internal consideration of the feature within X.

However, uncovering code references does not definitively confirm a feature’s imminent release to the public. Social media platforms routinely test new features internally before making decisions about their wider implementation or abandonment.

Despite the speculative nature of these discoveries, insights from X engineer Jay Baxter and Elon Musk suggest active consideration of leveraging negative signals to improve content ranking. Baxter, a senior staff machine learning engineer working on X’s Community Notes feature, noted the potential utility of incorporating negative feedback, drawing parallels to X’s existing crowdsourced fact-checking process.

Baxter highlighted the strategy of using private ratings to prevent groupthink, a method also employed by Community Notes to ensure balanced and accurate fact-checking. Musk, owner of X, endorsed the concept with a succinct affirmation, “True,” in response to discussions surrounding content moderation strategies.

The potential introduction of downvotes for replies aims to refine X’s algorithmic approach to ranking posts, particularly in lengthy discussion threads, potentially setting a precedent for similar tools across social media platforms. X’s Community Notes feature has already influenced YouTube to experiment with a comparable feature known as Notes, which similarly aims to aggregate consensus while attributing sources, thus empowering users in content moderation processes.

Amidst these developments, other social media startups are exploring distinct moderation approaches. Bluesky, for instance, is testing composable moderation models, allowing users to subscribe to various moderation services tailored to their preferences, thereby decentralizing content oversight.


Beyond downvotes, X is also considering interface adjustments, as evidenced by recent leaks from Perris showcasing a new gesture-based menu that conceals traditional engagement buttons like “Like” and “Repost,” favoring a streamlined user experience.

As X continues to explore these enhancements, the potential reintroduction of downvotes underscores its commitment to refining user interaction and content quality management on its platform.

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